Innovation and creativity is becoming increasingly important in social care. Technology’s just one of the tools available to care home providers but it’s also having the confidence to try something new that can make a big difference to people’s lives.
Ed Russell, WCS Care’s Director of Innovation and Delivery, explains how this thinking has shaped its newest home at Castle Brook in Kenilworth.
Every day we ask ourselves: ‘what can we do to make people’s lives better?’
It’s the driver behind everything we do at WCS Care and has helped us develop an approach to care that means every day is well lived for residents – whether it’s supporting people with things they’ve always done or providing opportunities to try something new.
Led by inspiration and aspiration At Castle Brook, WCS Care’s latest and most technologically-advanced home in Kenilworth, inspiration comes from the Netherlands and the aspirations of the people who live at the home.
There are ensuite rooms for everyone, domestic-style kitchens on each of the six households, a deluxe cinema, pamper salon, spa, mini mart, and traditional launderette; as well as double apartments for couples wanting to stay together.
A listening ear Acoustic monitoring, a non-intrusive system that listens to sleeping residents between 10pm and 8am, has been installed after a successful trial at our first new build, Drovers House in Rugby.
The system’s used at night and is triggered by unusual sounds beyond set levels for each person’s specific needs. If it hears something out-of-the-ordinary, it sends an alert to a central monitoring station where a night manager listens to decide if a carer is needed.
It means disruptive hourly night checks, where staff would knock before entering a room, are no longer needed, and that residents get uninterrupted sleep – something that can help improve health and wellbeing.
We’ve already seen a 34% reduction in falls at Drovers House since acoustic monitoring was installed, compared to the previous year. Recording care at the touch of a button Castle Brook – like all our homes – features Electronic Care Planning, and carers use small handheld devices to capture care instantly, saving an hour per carer per shift and removing the need for lengthy handovers.
But most importantly, it’s giving us vital data which, upon analysis, helps us to build on and personalise care, providing an insight into everything from fluid intake to social care and ‘must-dos’ to outdoor time.
The great outdoors Spending quality time outdoors can often be overlooked in care homes, so recognising the positive impact fresh air, exercise, and sunlight have, we’ve set a target that residents spend at least 90 minutes a week outside.
At Castle Brook (and four other homes), residents regularly enjoy going on the side-by-side bike-for-two on the specially-designed cycle track.
Like other WCS Care homes, there’s plenty of opportunity for walks around secure gardens or to get involved in hobbies like planting vegetables or playing games, as well as using our Out and About minibus service – in association with Oomph! – to visit local attractions.
Appetite for sharing With 100% of our homes recognised as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the CQC, we’re getting a lot of attention from other care home providers, social care organisations, MPs, and the NHS (over 150 visitors so far) who want to know our ‘secret’.
While there is no ‘secret’ – we’re only as good as our people and our last act of care – we realised there’s an appetite for sharing knowledge and learning; something that, as a sector, we don’t do very well.
So, we created an Innovation Hub at Castle Brook to give a demonstrable space for some of our features, without intruding on the lives of residents. Why not check it out for yourself?